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How to Still Have a Great Holiday Party . . . On a Budget

How to Still Have a Great Holiday Party . . . On a Budget

Inspire Productions Event Planning

5. Go for heavy appetizers. By offering a lounge style event instead of a formal sit down dinner, either onsite or off site, you both save a LOT of money: $10 to $20 per person on rentals for flatware, china, glassware, linens, etc. and also reduce the wait staff. Instead of fully dressed large tables with staff to bus and clean all of the china on the tables, you can offer very nice appetizers, and lots of them. By doing so, you can make all of them finger foods that require only a napkin or at most a small plate, either disposable or china. This will drastically reduce the staff needed for bussing and set up, and will allow you to have your event in almost ANY office environment as well as a lot of less expensive venues. If you do not have large ancillary rooms such as a cafeteria in your complex, then by utilizing appetizer stations, you can make use of your existing spaces. Just remember, do not skimp on lighting and décor. That is what will transform your office place into a winter holiday wonderland!

6. Use ambient performers: Whether you are having your office party onsite or off, ambient performers give people the type of individual attention they want, and often give them something to take away from the party, such as caricature artists, psychics, photo booths, etc. This reminds the client of the event long after it is over, and keeps that good will you just spent all that money creating. Go to and look at the “quickfinder” list on the right to get a variety of ideas of ambient performers

7. Use lighting and draping. It is astounding what lighting and draping can do to completely transform a space. By draping your cubicles and utilizing any empty ones as appetizer stations or caricature drawing booths, or chair massage spaces, you will give your employees a completely different perspective on their office! If you do decide to utilize a hotel ballroom, lighting will also transform a boxy space into a magical environment, for just a couple of thousand dollars. See some examples of before and after by scrolling down the page here:

8. Create a fun kids area for a few hundred bucks: By offering a Kids area to your employees, you assure a better attendance that an adult only party. Your caterer may give you a much cheaper price for kids food as well. By hiring a kids magician that also does balloons, you can keep the kids entertained for an hour with that alone, and You still have 3 more hours to fill for an average holiday party. I suggest either buying your own crafts or hiring a company to do a crafts table for you. Keep that going for 2 to 4 hours depending on number of kids. Wii play station. By bringing in a wii station and using bug screen projectors, you can fill the rest of the time and give the kids a variety of educational or just plain fun games that 4 at a time can play. Make sure to have adequate staff. To get other ideas, go to:

These are just some ideas of how you can still have a wonderful holiday event, even amidst economic turmoil. Please feel free to send an email with questions or other thoughts about your holiday party. If you are in the Bay Area and need help with finding a last minute venue, we can help you with that as well, or refer you to some valuable resources.

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